Urban Zone: Modern Contemporary by Jason Buensalido



Last night I went to the birthday celebration of ABS-CBN executive Deo Endrinal. There I met up with old colleagues and celebrities I usually only get to see on TV. Many exciting exchanges happen. But one thing left a smile on my face as I went to bed. Every single person I talked to expressed their love and longing for Urban Zone. It was very touching and encouraging.

I can proudly say that UZ really made a huge impact and influenced many people’s lives. It helped move the design and construction industry. It was a source of inspiration for many. I’m so proud of my core team – Manny Segunto, Denmark Alejandro, Maila Cuevas, Stanley Castro, Dave Bola and Princess Fulgar – for doing so much with so little resources. Hoping to work my awesome team again.

As you know, I’m producing Urban Zone® webisodes for now. With the help of my friend Marty Ilagan, we made this webisode last month featuring Jason Buensalido. Many of you may have already seen it. I’m now posting photos I took during the shoot.

If you love UZ and would like to support our little creative enterprise, please, please, please repost/share on Facebook, Twitter and embed the video in your blogs. Thanks and lots of UZ love.



A few months ago we drove by this house that stood out in a new subdivision. It was completely out of the box. I didn’t know who the architect was, but I had some inkling it could be Jason Buensalido. So I asked him, “By any chance did you design and build this house in XX Subdivision?”


I described it to him. He described it to me. But we were not sure we were talking about the same thing. Until he showed me photos.


This house has never been shown in any magazine or TV show. It took some convincing and a lot of trust. Thankfully, the owners agreed.


The entrance was lined from floor to ceiling with cedar wood.


More than just describing the style, Jason said this was about honesty of material, showing them in their most pure form, unadorned. The main common area is one open space that flows into the courtyard/deck. This living room, dining and kitchen area appears sunken from the external lanai.


Thank you Marty Ilagan for shooting and editing the video! Awesome team!


One bonus of having a sunken living room is the built in sofas which are made of the continuous concrete ledge surrounding the sunken area. It felt very mid-century modern America.


Cantilevered wooden steps to the second floor. The pattern on the wooden ceiling corresponds to the lines on the concrete floor.


Honesty of material. Concrete is shown as concrete.


Second floor hallway.


No need for huge windows in this hallway. This wall acts as a total barrier from the outside world and the one enveloped in wood and concrete inside.


All rooms upstairs have clerestory windows to benefit from natural light from both sides of the house.


The deck in the courtyard with reflectorized sliding glass doors.


Concrete ledge built into one wall of the deck.


The view into the house from the courtyard. I love the transparency of it all. Yet there is a level of privacy because the living space is “sunken” and the exterior wall and lanai is actually raised above ground level.


The exterior details – concrete, glass, steel and wood.


The exterior wall. This is the same wall that envelops the slanted hallway upstairs. Can I just say that I am so loving how they used the humble Santan as landscaping? This is how it’s done.


Again, santan love.


The house is branded. Here is the Buensalido logo. You can see more of Jason’s work here.



Urban Zone kitchens



Wow our kitchen cabinets are delivered and being installed.
This is exciting. Our kitchen cabinets from Kitchen Studio got delivered today. The contractor is starting to piece things together. I’m dying to share the step-by-step process. But I don’t have enough photos yet. And currently our Matwood wooden floors were mistakenly made too shiny – something to do with the sealant applied by the contractor. So I will wait til the right surface and texture is achieved. I’m also in a panic because I put off ordering my windows. I haven’t even found a supplier yet. Gosh. Who has the time? Haha.


Meanwhile let’s have a look back at some of the most memorable kitchens I featured in Urban Zone. This one is at Mitch and Shelley Shivers’ home. I love the stainless steel everything.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
This house was small. They really used the space efficiently. The kitchen was visible from the entire house, so they kept everything in its place. In order to save on energy costs, they placed a generous skylight window over the back counter to provide natural light during the day.


This house in San Juan had a big square kitchen with a huge island counter in the middle. I’m a fan of natural light. And their clerestory windows provided lots of it.


The pantry was back lit and visible from the kitchen through the sliding glass doors.


The space was even lovelier because of the Vigan bricks that lined the outside walls. This walkout lanai was the perfect spot for a breakfast table.


Owner designed this kitchen
The owners of this kitchen are in the baking business so they knew exactly how they wanted their home kitchen to function. They raised all the drawers on legs for hygienic reasons so that they could have every corner of the floor cleaned every night.


Owner designed this kitchen
You can see the kitchen legs better here. I also liked that one of the sections of the stainless steel counter top opened to reveal a dish dryer beneath.


This is the kitchen of Mike Pena (architect). The kitchen island doubles up as their daily dining table.


Beautiful carpentry in this kitchen
Beautiful carpentry in this kitchen designed by Dominic Galicia (architect).


Charisse Tinio’s brand new kitchen.


A modern modular kitchen in an Alex Co home.


A small kitchen in a bungalow designed by Dan Lichauco (architect). Curious about your thoughts on induction cookers. Please share.


Here’s what it looks like from another view. I love that it’s not just for show!


Interesting wood-effect tiles in this kitchen designed by Tania Lichauco. I considered wood-looking tiles on my kitchen but I had concerns about weight because my kitchen is technically on stilts in the second floor.


A little bit country. Designed by Frenjick Quesada (interior designer).


This was at my cousin Joan’s condo. Space was an issue. So the designer, Tito Villanueva used tricks like transparent furniture to reduce the bulk. One side of the wall also converts into a folding bed for the helper.


Sorry for the blur. This was the perfect kitchen at that stunning house by Luigi Bernaro. It was the awesome because it was a real working kitchen. The appliances and fixtures were of industrial quality. (In case anyone wonders why I mention “working” kitchens, that’s because in the Philippines a lot of homes have a secondary kitchen called “dirty kitchen”.)


Benitez House
The Benitez house was patterned after a Spanish colonial home in Vigan. The kitchen reflects the same old world feel.


I have a gazillion more kitchen and rooms previously featured in Urban Zone. I shall try to group them in to a story. Meanwhile we are about six weeks into renovations. I still need to source some suppliers to complete this enormous task. The house continues to look like backstage..



As promised… Urban Zone®



Daphne Print Ad Good


As I mentioned in this print ad, we will be posting new Urban Zone webisodes in You Tube. Please subscribe to the Urban Zone TV channel here for immediate updates. Here is our first feature on the web. Interior designer Frenjick Quesada shows me this renovation project. Once a bungalow, now split level two storey home with a contemporary tropical look. Lots of ideas here.


Part One


Part Two


I don’t know how frequent we can do new webisodes. I’m sort of just having fun with this together with my friends and former UZ colleagues Manny Segunto, Denmark Alejandro and Maila Cuevas. I asked videographer Paulo Ruiz to shoot. Hope you like it.

Urbanistas, please spread the word. Retweet, repost, like, share and embed in your blogs. Thanks!!!



My site’s first real print ad



UZ Daphne Print Ad



My site got its first print ad, and it’s a full page! Thank you to SLIVERS magazine.

About my buzz words or whatever you call blurbs these days – I thought of them while stuck in the middle of traffic. Then I texted it to Isabel Gatuslao who did the layout.

This was an older photo taken by Marty Ilagan. Xeng Zulueta did my makeup here. I love this chair, it’s an art piece by Ling Quisumbing at Manila Contemporary.

My team and I are in the finishing touches of our Urban Zone® webisode. I hope I can put it up by next week.



Badaphne makes the headlines!



I am floored!

Angelica Panganiban spoofed again me as “Badaphne” in her comedy show Banana Split. And ABS-CBN News puts it on their front page! How cool is that?

I love it!!! Thanks guys!


Badaphne of Uban Zone is in the front page of ABS-CBN News – with Lady Gaga and Chief Justice Corona!


Spoof UZ


Watch the video here.